Sunday, August 23, 2015

Across America Trekkers Dip Their Tires in the Atlantic Ocean

After 55 days on the road the Across America Trekkers and Trip Leaders rode up the ramp to the boardwalk at Coney Island and were cheered and greeted by parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, and AA alumni. Their amazing adventure through extremely hot weather, high mileage days, the rain & wind also included experiencing awesome natural beauty and extremely friendly, outgoing people.  The Trekkers ceremoniously walked their bikes across the busy Coney Island beach to dip their tires in the Atlantic Ocean.  The event was followed by champagne on Boardwalk and a nice lunch at the famous Grimaldi's  Restaurant.

Friday, August 21, 2015


8/20 We began our last big day of biking with cinnamon zucchini and potatoes and a whole lot of eggs. We played some morning tunes to get us going and hit the road by 8:30. The Dutchess Rail Trail took us a smooth thirteen miles to Hopewell Junction where we got on back roads for the last major climbs of our journey. In Mahopac we met John's mom and sister for a healthy lunch of mango chicken salad, watermelon, baguette, cheese, potato salad, Cheetos, and passion iced tea. We gave most of our remaining baggage to John's mom and took off down the rail trails for the last forty-seven miles to NYC. After a couple hours we suddenly arrived in the Bronx to experience sensory overload: traffic, music, tall buildings, and the hustle and bustle of city life. We found our way to the Hudson River bike trail and rode down the west side of Manhattan to 104th street where we cut across town to our hostel, Jazz on the Park. Katie got scooped up by her mom
upon arrival and we quickly said our goodbyes, realizing that we had made it to the end of the trip. We washed up in the hostel and headed out to treat ourselves at our last dinner together. We chose a fabulous diner on Broadway--half of us ate dessert for dinner while the other half gorged on real food! We walked back to the hostel totally stuffed and exhausted, ready to get a good night's sleep for our last day together.

Across America Trekkers Cross the Hudson River into Poughkeepsie

8/19 In the morning Branton's mother Lisa arrived with a new bike for Branton. We assembled his bike and Lisa kindly took our group pot set, tents, and stoves to lighten the load for our ride to Poughkeepsie. We biked twenty miles to Ellenville on the bumpy Route 52 and stopped for a snack break. We continued to New Paltz on the beautiful Berme Road, circling around the last of the Catskills. Tyler's rack snapped off along the way, but we zip tied it back on and changed our route to avoid bumpy bike paths. In New Paltz Tyler got a professional zip tie job done and the crew ate a big late lunch/early dinner at Lemongrass Thai. We rode on the rail trail from New Paltz to Poughkeepsie and took group photos on the Mid Hudson Walkway. We stayed at the Vassar Townhouses for the night, where John's friend Erin donated fresh veggies from the Vassar Farm and we ate cookie cake (a favorite of Branton's). The kids had a sentimental last night of tenting outside and we're excited about their last day of riding.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Final Day for NY - Montreal Trek

August 19:

Today we woke up and began packing our things to go. Cory went and grabbed some bagels for breakfast while the gang got their bikes packed. We left our bags at the front desk, checked out of Hotel Espresso, and biked to the Museum of Fine Arts. After checking out some art we headed to a nice lunch of Chinese food. It was quite tasty. We went to a grocery store for snacks for the bus, then back to the hotel to grab our gear. We got our bikes packed and headed to the area around the bus station. It was a team effort to pack the bikes into boxes and prepare them for the ride home to NYC. Cory waited at the station while the rest of the crew headed to Chinatown for the last exploration of Montreal. We then hung out in the station and waited to board our bus. As we waited we reminisced about the amazing times we had with each other and how much we would miss one another. However, we also expressed our excitement to be home and enjoy the comforts of not being on the road. All in all, it was an amazing trip. 8 strangers became great friends. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

NY - Montreal Trekkers Enjoying Montreal

August 18th
Today was a day of preparation and exploration. We said bye to Camilla, leaving Skylar as the only person with two X chromosomes on the trip. We set out to see more of the city in the daylight, with a side mission of finding a bike box to ship Julia's bike. We went into Montreal's public library, which was extremely close to the bus station we were going to the next day. The library had 6 stories! It was awesome, but most of the books were in French. After that we were all feeling rather hungry, so we stopped at a local burger stand for some poutine and a small lunch. Skylar then set out to find a bike box as Cory and the rest of the group headed to a comic book store near the hotel to grab some reads for the bus ride home! Having been out in the sun for a long time that day, we all headed back to the hotel to chill out a bit before going out to our last dinner of the trip. It was delicious. We came back to the hotel and hung out with each other before going to sleep and resting for our last day in Montreal. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Across America Trekkers Reach Liberty

8/18 We left a friend's beautiful stone home and made our way south on route 8 to Deposit, just on the border of Pennsylvania. With the worst hills of the day behind us and two well-timed flats to repair, we had a huge lunch at the New Moon Cafe : pancakes, French toast, eggs, bacon, sausage, ham. We continued on with Liberty as our goal. Down the road outside Hancock Branton got a flat from a long and sharp piece of glass. He and John unsuccessfully attempted to patch the tube, then replaced the tube and found a major brake problem. After a loose hub was discovered and the new tube got a pinch flat, leaving Branton tubeless, the duo called a taxi to take them the rest of the way. The trio of Lydia, Katie and Tyler sped through the fifty miles to Liberty with only one five minute stop to eat a Clif bar. When they arrived the motel rooms and Chinese delivery food were waiting for them. After quickly devouring the food the Trekkers went to sleep while Lydia and John made final plans for the journey.

NY-Montreal Trekkers Made it to Montreal!

August 17:

We woke up and tye-dyed as our last full group activity before Julia would be leaving us later that evening. It was a great activity. The shirts came out pretty great. Then we set out for our final destination: Montreal. Later we would find out that it was the hottest day of the whole summer in the area. We biked for what seemed to be forever on a road passing endless cornfields before finally entering a more populated area. We grabbed some Tim Hortons bagels for a snack, and then headed into the suburbs outside of Montreal. The bike paths were wonderful throughout the whole area and kept us off the somewhat busy streets. Due to a main bridge being under construction we were sent on a mini detour, rendering our map directions useless and forcing us to rely on the kindness of the residents of Montreal to find our way to the downtown area. We were all feeling slightly drained as we climbed the last hill that would arrive us at our hotel, but we made it! The hotel AC was incredible. We all showered and got ready to go explore the city. We went and got dinner at a nice restaurant and then walked around exploring shops and finding cool areas that had fountains and a great atmosphere. We then headed back to the hotel and enjoyed the comfort of some cozy beds and got ready for our next full day of exploring the city. 

Canada At Last for NY-Montreal Trekkers!

August 16: In the morning we ate our last breakfast in America then set out into the vast farm land that separates Plattsburgh from Canada. We ran into some bike trouble near the boarder, but every one worked together and our crossing into Canada was quick and easy. Our route was flat and we cruised the whole way arriving at our campsite at 2 in the afternoon. Once we were settled the kids planned a surprise birthday party for Cory and we bought a cake and card in secret. Afterwards we explored the suburbs of Canada and considered going swimming but ultimately decided we would rather hang out in the shade playing cards. Eggy and Julia cooked us a wonderful dinner of gnocchi. We wound up staying up past our usual bed time of 10 o'clock since it was Julia's last night.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

New York-Montreal Trekkers on the US-Canadian Border

We had a relatively easy day of biking and riding ferries across Lake Champlain to reach our campsite at Cumberland Bay in Plattsburgh. We almost decided to continue on and enter Canada, but due to lack of confirmed places to stay we decided to just hang out at the intended campsite. We biked to Walmart for groceries and then to Michaels for some tye dye so we could decorate our shirts in Canada! Then we headed back to the campsite, took showers and went swimming before finally settling down and cooking delicious hamburgers for dinner and preparing to finally cross the border tomorrow into Canada!

Santana in Canandaigua for Across America Trekkers

8/15 We got a long night's sleep at the Attica motel and hit the road at 10 after eating the complimentary breakfast with delicious muffins. As the heat of the day picked up we biked thirty miles to Avon where we had burgers and shakes for lunch. After lunch Lydia encountered a flat on the way to Canandaigua, as well as a broken spoke and a very loose hub. After repairing the flat, replacing the spoke, and tightening the hub, we made it to Canandaigua, where we met an incredibly friendly police investigator. He offered us free tickets to a Santana concert, use of showers at the local college, and space to camp on the college lawn. So, we canceled our plans with a host in Geneva and settled down on the lawn for some good vibes, chicken tenders, and steak fajita wraps.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Oregon to Buffalo for the Across America Trekkers

8/13 We woke up on the farm and cooked eggs to put on bagels with melted cheddar and cream cheese, then trekked 40 miles to the Canadian border. 
We rode on bike paths the whole way and once we made it to Port Colborne John and Lydia recognized the route from Leadership Training. In Buffalo we were greeted by Teen Treks Director Cliff for lunch of cheeseburgers and potato salad. We made our way to Lydia's house and Bruce Fisher took the kids to Niagara Falls while John and Lydia planned out New York. We had an amazing Thanksgiving Dinner with the Fisher family and the Madell family, ate pumpkin pie for dessert, and finally watched a movie--Monty Python and the Holy Grail!

New York - Montreal Trekkers Hang Out in Burlington

On our first full day in Vermont we left our campground as early as we could in the hopes of getting to Burlington early in the day. The bike ride was beautiful and full of hills. We ran into another group of adults and children also riding to Burlington and biked behind them until we parted ways at lunch. We got Burlington at 2, dropped our gear off at the campground and took a quick dip in the lake. After swimming we took our bikes into the city where we found a bike shop and got some much need air in our tires and a few minor bike repairs. Then set out on foot to explore Church Street. We went out to dinner and attempted to eat a Vermonster at Ben and Jerry's. After the Vermonster we rolled back to our campsite, enjoyed each other's company for awhile before making

our way to bed.

Friday, August 14, 2015

New York - Montreal Trekkers Enter Vermont

We woke up extra early so that we could catch the 8 o'clock ferry that would take us across Lake George to Baldwin. We got our bikes packed up and decided we would enjoy the breakfast buffet that the ferry offered rather than cooking breakfast. This turned out to be a huge disappointment, but it was indeed food. The ride to the other end of Lake George ended up taking about 2 hours and 30 minutes, which allowed some of us to take a nap. We got off the ferry, on to our bikes and headed towards Vermont! The ride was very nice through rolling hills. We stopped at a gas station with 24 different flavors of soft serve ice cream and got some snacks before continuing on with our trek. We rode as fast as possible as there was a rain cloud closing in on us. However, Mother Nature proved to be the victor. The rain caught up to us and we got a nice shower as we rode. Surprisingly the sun was shining on us the whole time it rained, which was rather refreshing. We finally reached the bridge to Vermont and that marked our "almost there" point on our journey that day. We rode through the scenic farmland of Vermont and found a small county market, where we got supplies for dinner and breakfast, then we continued on to Button Bay Park. A few of us went swimming while others relaxed in the shade and began to prepare dinner for the night. We started a fire and enjoyed conversation and the sounds of nature as we prepared ourselves for bed and another day of biking that would bring us further into Vermont and closer to our ultimate destination, Montreal.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Across America Trekkers Breeze Across Canada

8/12 In Norfolk we had hot chocolate and big breakfasts at The Lunchbox while planning the day's route. We biked 42 miles to Port Dover, first along Road 45 and for most of the day Road 3. On 45 we saw a sign with an image of three triangles, which we soon discovered referred to the road elevation, but 3 was flat and beautiful. We had pizzas for lunch in Port Dover with Timbits for dessert while checking the conditions of a shortcut backroad along the water. We quickly biked the last 33 miles of the day, shopped for groceries, and were welcomed by Sandra and Kevin to stay on their farm. Kevin told us stories of cycling from Portugal to Vietnam and we shared notes on preventing flats (buy good tires) and learned about methods of surviving on a bike in foreign lands (dumpster dive recently expired food, accept hospitality, don't worry too much about what people think of their neighbors, duct tape can work wonders). We enjoyed cherry tomatoes from Sandra and cooked a meal of pasta with beef sauce and zucchini, made good use of their bathroom, and went to sleep.

Across America Trekkers Are Biking in Canada

8/10 We woke up to the not-so-pleasant surprise that Detroit's bumpy streets had broken a spoke of Lydia's. We gobbled down the complimentary hotel breakfast and Lydia headed out 8 miles to a bike shop while the rest of the group finished getting ready. After John discovered a flat and fixed it the group hit the road and quickly caught up with Lydia, whose bike had been repaired. The whole group made their way through the suburbs of Detroit, pointing out potholes along the way. At 26 miles we stopped at a gas station for a huge snack of Clif bars and bagels as storm clouds rolled in. We made it another 27 miles to Algonac in steady rain with only a quick stop when John wiped out. We had an amazing late lunch at a restaurant next to the ferry: one-pound burgers and generous omelettes. After a quick ferry ride we picked up a map of Ontario in Wallaceburg and ate a hearty dessert in
Dresden. A friendly backpacker invited us to stay at his house where we played with his border collie, Zoe, and learned about the history of the town (Uncle Tom's Cabin is in Dresden!). By 11 we settled down for a good night's sleep.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Across America Trekkers Are Headed for Canada

8/9 After biking 5 miles across the town of Jackson we ate a delicious breakfast of granola, vanilla yogurt, and blueberries. When we got to the Meijer grocery store the ATM promptly swallowed Lydia's debit card, but by the time everyone was sunscreened and ready to go the ATM spat the card back up. We rode a solid 40 miles to Ann Arbor where we had a tasty lunch bought from food trucks and finished the remaining donuts from Kalamazoo. We left Ann Arbor on the pleasant Plymouth Road/Ann Arbor Trail, which took us all the way to the outskirts of Detroit. The roads into Detroit required intense group cohesion and calling out hazards, but we made it to the Extended Stay America hotel where we cooked a delicious meal of beef, onions, peas and rice on the complimentary kitchenettes. Finally we settled down for a good night's rest before the next day's ride into Canada.

New York - Montreal Trekkers Bike the Adirondacks

We woke up to a rainy morning in Albany. Thanks to a few bike issues we managed to delay leaving until the rain had stopped. By afternoon it had turned into a beautiful day so we stopped for Stewart's ice cream. It rained again around lunch time, so we had lunch under the shelter of a nice woman's garage. After the down pour passed we finished out our 50 mile day and made friends with another group of bikers also on their way to Moreau State Park.

Across America Trekkers Reach Jackson Michigan

8/8 Our day began with a hot meal cooked by Eric our host. We ate a couple of last night's donuts and headed out to Alfred E. Bikes to have Tyler's rack removed and replaced. We pushed onward to lunch, riding on a mixture of well-maintained bike paths, less maintained county roads, and deer fly infested dirt paths. For lunch we had a fresh salad with cherry tomatoes--we were kindly allowed to eat in the store as a drizzle began. After lunch we continued to Jackson on rather bumpy back roads, fixing flats along the way. Outside Jackson we met a friendly cyclist who offered us accommodations for the night, but since he lived a few miles in the wrong direction we politely declined. We feasted at Steak and Shake on burgers and candy-filled shakes before setting up camp for the night at
Baker College.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Rest Day in Albany for the New York-Montreal Trekkers

Our second day in Albany began with sleeping in and a continental brunch in the hotel. Shortly after we went to the Capitol building to take a tour of the premises. We learned that it took 32 years to build and 25million dollars and that it has a lot of extravagant carvings all over the interior of the building. After the tour we went to catch the view at the top of the tallest building in Albany. The view was wonderful! Afterwards we took a bus to a nearby mall to see the Fantastic Four movie and grab dinner at Ichiban Chinese restaurant. Once adequately full we headed back to the hotel for some rest before a huge day of biking tomorrow! 

New York-Montreal Trekkers Reach Albany

We woke up at our campsite at the icebox and enjoyed a large breakfast of oatmeal and granola to get fueled for the day. We then set off on our 20 mile bike ride, which was on the Route 9J which was composed of wonderful rolling hills the whole way. We stopped at roadside farm stand along the way and enjoyed plums, peaches, tomatoes and zucchini bread. After that we finished our ride to the city, checked into the Holiday Inn Express Hotel, took some much needed showers, and headed out to explore the city. Since it was Sunday, it was very empty. We grabbed a larger meal at a local deli and then got Ben and Jerrys ice cream before heading back to the hotel and relaxing for the rest of the night. We finished the night by playing some cards in one of the hotel rooms, and then went to bed to get ready for yet another adventure filled day in the city of Albany.

Across America Trekkers Heads East from Chicago

August 6- We started our morning bright and early with fresh chocolate banana pancakes. Chris and Keri, our amazing hosts, helped us get moving by blasting music. These two both work for Clif Bar, so they happened to have a surplus of snacks and gear laying about that they unloaded onto us. We stuffed our panniers full of treats and put on our new socks and bike hats. We are now officially unofficially sponsored by Clif! We got out by 9am and met up with Brad, a bike engineer for the Chicago DOT who led us out of the city. He gave us a great route to follow all the way to Michigan, which we followed for the rest of the day! We sped through Indiana along a series of bike paths and made a delicious salad for lunch. We rode along the lake through the Indiana Dunes State Park and arrived at our camp spot. We gorged on pizza and turned in, tired from a long day. 

Rest Day in Chicago for the Across America Trekkers

Aug 5.

Rest day in Chicago!!! We woke up slowly at our host's house. Keri coooked up some delicious squash and sausages while we planned out our day. We decided that, even though we were supposed to be resting, that the best way to see the city was by bike. We shot out of the house around lunch time and headed towards Pequod's pizza, a fabulous deep dish pizza restaurant on the way downtown. Afterwards we rode towards millennium park along the lakefront trail, where we saw Cloud Gate aka The Bean and the Fountains! We spent the rest of the day hanging out downtown. Around dinnertime the group split into three: Katie got picked up by her brother (who lives in Chicago!) To enjoy some family time, Lydia rode off to have dinner with her cousins, and Tyler, Branton, and John headed to a Mexican restaurant for tacos and cake. We all met back at the house later that night, hung out for a little bit, and went to bed early.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

New York-Montreal Trekkers Are Enjoying the Hudson River

We started our day in Margret Norrie State Park with a quick breakfast and a downhill ride out of the park. We spent the morning enjoying an amazing 41 mile ride through the rolling hills of upstate New York. Taking breaks for some amazing ice cream, snacks, and a few quick games of cards. We arrived early at the National Estuary Preserve with plenty of time to play Frisbee, cook dinner, test the muddy waters of the Hudson, and hang out together off of our bikes. At the end of the day we were rewarded with a quiet, beautiful camp site on the edge of the Hudson.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Across America Trekkers Overcome Breakdowns and Make it to Michigan

8/7 We began our day bright and early leaving camp by 6:30. We crossed the border to Michigan and did a group photo with the sign - then we crossed the road to the Welcome to Illinois sign to snag a shot since we'd been cheated a welcome sign on the way in. We ate breakfast in the small coastal town of New Buffalo where we discovered our first flat of the day, sadly as we were just about to hit the road. We made it halfway to Niles, our lunch spot, before we encountered our second flat of the day. Pushing onward we got to Niles and had a speedy lunch of deli sandwiches, strawberries and oranges. On our way out of Niles we had to walk our bikes across some train tracks and Tyler's rack snapped off his bike. John and Tyler went back into town to seek help from a bike shop while the rest of the group went ahead to Kalamazoo. Katie, Lydia and Branton made incredible time to Kalamazoo while John and Tyler reluctantly bought train tickets to catch up. For the trio, some accidental detours brought the day to an impressive 95 miles. The whole group reconvened in Kalamazoo by 9:00 for a warm welcome by the Nelson family. We ate chicken wings and delicious donuts from the Sweetwater Mill. Before bed we hopped into the hot tub to relax our muscles and then climbed into our tents.

New York-Montreal Trekkers Spend the Day Biking the Poughkeepsie Area

There's nothing better than waking up to the sound of a blasting air conditioner rather than the sound of irritating ground owls and obnoxious crickets. The Ramada Inn had great rooms, and comfy beds. We left the Ramada at about 9:15, and were on our diddly-do-da-way. Unlike previous days, the roads were as smooth as freshly bought Stop and Shop Nutella. Which we gorged ourselves on during lunch. Peanut butter, Nutella, corn tortillas: lunch fit for a king, or if you're Julia the Queen. We made new friends on the Walk Across the Hudson. Next on our list was the the FDR house. It was a delightfully educational trip that ended up being a long and scenic nap. Though it was quite enjoyable. Especially for the girls, who channeled their inner homosapien and climbed a massive tree. We arrived at our campsite at around 6 and had tacos for dinner, and ended the day with the finest German innovation in pizza dough technology. Dough on sticks over a fire, "lecker".

Thursday, August 6, 2015

New York-Montreal Trekkers Conquer a Tough Riding Day With Ease

We woke up today at 7 and were packed and ready to go and had breakfast eaten by 830!
We biked halfway on our route by about noon when we stopped at a market to get some fresh fruits and snacks, as we couldn't find a grocery store on our route. Shortly after we stopped at an antique store to check it out and take a bit of a rest. After conquering a 5 mile uphill battle, we enjoyed a mostly downhill cruise into the town of Fishkill. We were a bit early to the hotel, so we went into Walmart to grab a portable grill. Once we checked into our hotel we went to see the movie AntMan, and afterwards we went to a local diner and had a delicious dinner. After returning to the hotel we all watched the ending of Back to the Future before winding down and preparing for another big day of cycling!

Across America Trekkers Very Happy in Chicago

August 4- Today we began our 9th state by riding along a paved bike trail into the beautiful suburbs surrounding Chicago. We stopped in Highland Park to take a dip in Lake Michigan at Millard Park, where we met our host, Chris! Chris and his friend, who are ex professional cyclists, led us into the city on a locally known bike route that took us past mansions and to the lake shore bike trail. We saw the Chicago skyline and rode with thousands of cyclists during the rush hour commute. Chris and his girlfriend showed us the newly opened commuter bike path, the 606, which rises above the city streets much like NYC's high line. We arrived at their house and spent some time relaxing before we headed out for the best fried chicken in town (drool worthy!!) We headed back home and cut up some honey pie, a special treat from the pie shop next door. We listened to some tunes and shared stories before heading to bed, excited to get a good nights sleep in for our first rest day since Washington!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Lake Ontario Trekkers Complete the Circle and Arrive in Buffalo a Day Early

Lake Ontario Trekkers land in Buffalo!   Buffalo is such an amazing place we couldn't wait to get there. So we biked 70 miles today to get there one night earlier than expected, we all just secretly wanted the wings. It was an easy ride along the Erie Canal, staying together and cheering each other on to the finish line. Only one flat tire and one gallon of ice cream until we made it into Buffalo and had wings for dinner. Tomorrow will be a day to explore the city.